Setting a teammate

Marshfield’s Ava Ainsworth sets the ball for a teammate during Tuesday’s match with Junction City. The Tigers edged the Pirates in five sets.

Marshfield’s volleyball team has had an up and down season, showing flashes of brilliance and then showing its relative youth.

Tuesday’s match against Junction City was just another example, this one ending the wrong way, with the Tigers outlasting the Pirates in five sets, 20-25, 25-20, 20-25, 25-21, 15-12.

Marshfield coach Tammie Montiel said the Pirates play great at times, but don’t maintain that level of play.

“It’s that roller-coaster of play good and dig ourselves a hole we can’t get out of,” Montiel said.

On Tuesday, the Pirates played well at key times while winning the first and third sets, but fell behind in the second and fourth. In the fifth set, they actually did come back from a hole after falling behind 6-2, tying the set twice. But they couldn’t win key points late.

On one of those points, Marshfield wasn’t able to get a big hit on a ball twice when the Tigers sent it weakly across the net to them — so-called free balls — before Junction City won the crucial point.

“That’s been our nemesis,” Montiel said. “We haven’t been able to take advantage of what the other teams give us.”

When Marshfield did get into its offense, the Pirates got some big hits out of outside hitters Paige MacDuff and Tatum Montiel, who had 20 and 21 kills, respectively, and middle blockers Kate Miles and Abby Warrick, who combined for 11 more.

But they didn’t get enough of them and often couldn’t get a block on Junction City star hitter Ayden King.

And when it wasn’t a big hit by King, it was some tip that Marshfield wasn’t able to cover.

“We’ve got to find a way to adjust and get on tipped balls,” Tammie Montiel said.

Ava Ainsworth had 24 assists and Gracie Peach 23 for the Pirates. MacDuff had 32 digs and Miles and Peach 21 each.

The Pirates had a chance to finish the first half of the Sky-Em League season alone in second place behind Cottage Grove. Instead, they find themselves tied with Siuslaw for second at 3-2, with both Junction City and Marist Catholic right behind at 2-3.

Cottage Grove is a perfect 5-0 after edging Siuslaw in five sets, and was to start the second half of the season at Marshfield on Thursday (results weren’t available by press time).

Marshfield beat Siuslaw in the first round of league play, in a five-set match on the road. They host the Vikings in a big match Tuesday.

“If we can take care of ourselves, we hold our own destiny,” Tammie Montiel said.

If Marshfield can finish second in the final standings, they will be guaranteed a home game in the play-in round of the Class 4A postseason.

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